What makes you Happy? and Synthetic Happiness


Few days back, I was attending a job interview. It was a technical interview.  During the discussion, interviewer mystified me with a question – “Manoj, what makes you happy?”

Why does someone want to make me happy? That is the first question came to my mind. I need a job, that is my expectation while attending the interview.

I don’t have a quick answer for the question as I couldn’t find a polished reply to enthrall the interviewer.

Once I came out from that room, two questions were around me

1) Why does somebody want to make me happy?

2) What really makes me happy?

Finding answer for the first question is tricky; it requires inputs from ‘someone’ which is difficult.  Even if I get answers, that might not be true inputs. So I’m leaving that question for time being and will try to find answer for second question which solely depends on me.

After few hours of thinking, I realized I really don’t know what makes me happy or in other words there are too many things made me happy in different situations. The object/service that made me happy in certain time period might not make me happy now. In short, my happiness is not related with a single object. My concept of happiness is not constant.

Even I started asking, who am I? I don’t have a constant answer for that as well. I don’t know much about myself. So it is difficult for me to answer, what makes me happy?. My concept of happiness is evolved through different periods of my life. I realized, I’m not going to get an answer for – what makes me happy?. As perplexed with these thoughts, I started Googling. [Those were the situations where I felt ashamed of myself.  I’m depended on Google to find answers related to myself… But in certain situations it helped me to widen my awareness in different domains].

Google helped me to find a concept called ‘Synthetic Happiness’. Yes! it says, we can manufacture happiness as we need. Happiness researcher, Daniel Gilbert also says, ‘frequency of your positive experiences is a much better predictor of your happiness than is the intensity of your positive experiences. We imagine that one or two big things will have a profound effect. But it looks like happiness is the sum of hundreds of small things. ’
You can read more on this from

http://www.mbird.com/2012/01/daniel-gilbert-on-synthetic-happiness-and-the-difference-between-a-challenge-and-a-threat/

Another site has an elucidation; ‘those who are having lesser complaints are happiest and thus richest in the world’.  I like to believe in that; that is the only way I could find my name in Forbes magazine’s world’s richest 100 people list.  Don’t know Forbes magazine will accept this definition for ‘richest’ though.

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About Manoj R

I'm a lifelong student. A freelance happiness researcher. A minimalist. I'm trying to reach a state of ecstasy by enjoying daily wonders in life. My greater aim is to specialize in generalizing happiness concepts. In short, I'm still trying to find out more about myself...
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